Phosphoric acid in colas contributes to decreased bone-mineral density, especially in adult women Print E-mail
 Tuesday, August 08, 2006

'Women at risk from cola drinks'

New Delhi, Aug. 7: If you think only Indian brands of colas are harmful, you may be wrong. According to a recent study at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR), it is revealed that it is not the water impurity in cola drinks but the chemical concentrate of colas that contributes to the loss of bone-mineral density (BMD), especially in adult women.

Posing a major risk of osteoporosis in women, the research revealed that colas, unlike most other soft drinks, contains phosphorus in the form of phosphoric acid. "Women, but not men, consuming more than one 330ml serving per day of any type of cola had significantly lower BMD than those consuming less than 1 serving per day," said the research.

"In India, the problem of pesticides in cola drinks has more than once been attributed to contaminated ground water used in the drinks. But, the real health concern is the presence of high quantity of phosphoric acid in the concentrate of colas that causes calcium-phosphorous imbalance in the human body," said Dr Chandra M. Gulati, drug expert and editor of Monthly Index of Medical Specialities.

"Calcium, phosphorous, vitamin D and hormones makes the quadrangle that decides the density of bones. All have to be unison. But high intake of phosphoric acid causes disturbance and spoils the bone density," explained Dr Gulati. Interestingly, however, the calcium-binding phosphoric acid (H3PO4) found in colas, does not pose a danger to men.

"The association between cola intake and lower BMD was not seen in male subjects," concluded the research. "This is because women are more prone to osteoporosis since the imbalance occurs faster in women," said Dr Gulati. The cola controversy triggered after an NGO, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), claimed to have found unacceptable levels of pesticide residues in 11 soft drinks. Though, CSE's claims has been refuted by soft drink majors Pepsi and Coca-Cola, the controversy has led to various states contemplating ban on sale of cola drinks.